Can I salvage this pie crust?

Ugh, I was trying to throw together my usual CI vodka pie crust recipe in a hurry this morning and I stupidly added an entire cup of liquid instead of the half cup called for. Of course, I didn’t have time or the ingredients to make another batch of the dry stuff to add to the wet mess, so I just shoved it in the fridge and ran out the door. Do you think I can make another batch tonight and add it to what I have, or have I hopelessly ruined it at this point? I’m just worried that the flour will have fully hydrated and formed gluten, etc., by the time I get home, making it impossible to work in the additional dry stuff without overworking the dough. Thoughts?

Well, I decided to give it a try - the wet mess was still a wet mess, so I made another batch of flour/butter and worked it into the wet stuff. It didn’t require too much kneading so hopefully it will work out okay…I’ll find out tomorrow!

Just reporting back in case anyone else ever does anything this dumb - it worked! This dough recipe is incredibly forgiving - I’m not sure I would try this with a more traditional “cut in the butter” type of recipe. I made some nut patties this morning and baked the scraps with cinnamon sugar - no shrinkage, no problems, just buttery, flaky, crisp dough as always.

Thanks for reporting back. I may have to try that recipe if I decide to make pie crust again. Made a crust for a savory tart and a quiche and had shrinkage.

I really love it - the step where you process the butter and half the flour to a paste is quite untraditional but it’s what makes the recipe so foolproof. Resting the dough helps with shrinkage as well, since it gives the gluten time to relax, but the paste step is what really makes the difference.

I just looked it up and came across the Serious Eats replication. They don’t mention making a paste but it does say “. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.” Is that what you mean?

No, the KEY step in this recipe is this (the italics are mine):
“Process 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, and sugar in food processor until combined, about 2 one-second pulses. Add butter and shortening and process until homogeneous dough just starts to collect in uneven clumps, about 15 seconds (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds and there should be no uncoated flour). Scrape bowl with rubber spatula and redistribute dough evenly around processor blade.”

The next step is to pulse in the remaining flour until the dough is broken up and the flour is distributed, then you add the water.

This is very VERY different from most pie crust recipes, which have you cut the butter and flour together until the butter is pea-sized. This leaves a lot of flour that is not coated with butter, which leaves that flour free to form gluten at will, which can toughen your crust and cause shrinkage. By completely coating 60% of the flour with butter in the first step of this recipe, you eliminate that flour’s ability to form gluten, which vastly reduces the possibility of toughness/shrinkage. The flour added in the second step is still free to form gluten, but there’s just enough of it to add the necessary structure to the dough without overdoing it.

It seems counterintuitive, since you don’t have any big pieces of butter to form those pockets for flaky layers, but this dough is by far the most dependably flaky dough I’ve ever made.

ETA: Here is Serious Eats’ article on the science behind this recipe:
BTW, I agree with Kenji about the vodka - I used it when I first started making the CI recipe, but i have stopped bothering and the crust still comes out perfectly, as long as I make sure the fat and flour are fully incorporated together in that first step. Also, I have made this crust with all butter, half butter half lard, half butter half shortening - they all work.

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Should I choose to make pie crust again, I will definitely hunt this one down. Thanks!

absolutely fascinating. I do luv’ a good bust mything… I’m a flaky crust addict, and I’m only on Step 2; previously I got up to Step Ate before I relapsed.

I’ve had a long success with a pastry blender & butter - but indeed, thinking on it, the dough gets kinda’ like a paste before I’m done. there is the (curiously not mentioned) thing about “over working” the dough. perhaps the resting time takes care of that issue…?

the worst part of the deal is digging out all the parts to the FP. it’s just not a frequent flyer in my kitchen…got one, somewhere . . . .

This dough is nearly impossible to overwork, in my (now vast!) experience - because so much of the flour is “gluten-proofed,” you can be a lot less delicate with it than with a normal pie crust and still get fabulous results. Even though I know it’s hard to overwork, I was concerned that trying to correct my idiot move by working in another recipe’s worth of butter and flour to an already-prepped-and-rested dough would completely ruin it - but it didn’t. A Christmas miracle!

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Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, Yuanyang County, Yunnan
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